By Dady Chery
Why should Palestine want UNESCO membership so badly, and why should the U.S. and Israel oppose it so fiercely?
Hamas, the elected representative of the Palestinians, opposes a Palestinian application for U.N. membership and maintains that admission into the U.N. would imply the acceptance of a Palestinian state with the 1967 borders and the concession of most of Palestine to Israel. Hamas has warned that accepting a Palestinian state on the 1967 lines endangers the Palestinian cause.
“This includes an implicit concession of nearly 80 percent of the land of Palestine.” – Mushier al-Masri
“We support establishing a Palestinian state on any part of Palestinian land without giving up an inch of Palestine or recognizing Israel” – Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniya.
Anyway, membership in UNESCO does not imply full membership in the U.N. UNESCO is merely the U.N.’s cultural and educational branch. So is this a bit of glamour being sought by Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas so as to raise his stature? Could be. But I don’t think this was the real the thing in play. It is important that the U.S.’s hand was forced.
Of the 173 members at today’s U.N. session, 107 voted for Palestine’s membership in UNESCO, 52 abstained, and 14 voted against. The majority of Latin American, Caribbean, African, and Arab countries supported Palestinian membership, as did all the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) countries.
Already, the U.S. has responded to the overwhelming support for Palestine’s admission into UNESCO by immediately cutting off the payment of its dues to this organization.
When the Palestinian application for full membership comes to the U.N. Security Council next month, the U.S. will certainly try to scuttle it behind the scenes to keep Palestine from securing the 9 votes it needs out of 15 and, failing this, the U.S. will veto the application outright. In doing so however, the U.S. will lose all credibility in future Palestine-Israel negotiations.
Copyright © 2011-2013 by Dady Chery. All Rights Reserved. Dady Chery is a journalist, playwright, essayist and poet, who writes in English, French and her native Creole. She is the Editor of Haiti Chery.
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